7 Modern Fiction Books on Growing Up Asian


I am a first generation ABC (American Born Chinese). Some have also described this group as a banana – white on the inside and yellow on the outside. For an enlightening perspective, see this Huffington Post article written by the talented Teresa Hsaio. It’s hilarious!

Reading contemporary Asian fiction is my homage to my heritage. While growing up, there were only a few Asian writers, like Amy Tan. Now there are many, and these books are rich in Asian characters and weaves in the culture, too.

Here are 7 books that I recommend:

The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan



This is by far my favorite series written by an Asian author. Kevin Kwan brings a hilarious perspective and incredibly accurate stereotypes as he writes the tale of a large, wealthy Singaporean family and their trials and tribulations through life. He weaves in locations, cultural references, even the Asian language into this book. It was so incredibly comforting and entertaining to be immersed into this world.

My review on Rich People Problems

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

Silicon Valley 1

This is an entertaining story about a smart, resourceful, funny Asian girl and her trials and tribulations as she navigates through the cutthroat and stressful Silicon Valley work environment. It reminds me of the HBO show Silicon Valley, and I practically heard the show’s theme song playing in the background as I read this.

Sophia is an ABC and definitely behaves like one.

My review on Sophia of Silicon Valley

Family Trust by Kathy Wang

Family Trust

This is a story about a Chinese family struggling to fulfill their dying father’s final bequest, a privileged Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley is forced to contend with the truth of their own lives. It’s been compared to the Nest, Crazy Rich Asians and Behold the Dreamers.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere is captivating story about mothers and children, family dynamics, friendships, impossible decisions, complicated relationships and young adult connections in the picture-perfect community of Shaker Heights, a suburb near Cleveland, Ohio.

Celeste Ng’s writing is absolutely stellar. She has a way of writing about common, mundane subjects that enthrall readers.

My review on Little Fires Everywhere

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything Cover

This book is extraordinary but I have some mixed feelings about it. The writing was beautiful, engaging, and haunting. It evoked visceral emotions within me that made it hard to read at times. It has a heavy, complicated plot and I felt sad and angry for most of the book. Overall, it’s well written and worth your time, but you should be emotionally prepared before you read it.

My review on Everything I Never Told You

The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang


This book is about a Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent – and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together.

This book is funny and entertaining and highlights the family dynamics of one Asian family.

Chemistry by Weike Wang


Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own.

Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want?

This one’s on my TBR!

Are there any other contemporary Asian fiction novels that you recommend?

9 thoughts

      1. Abby, have you read any of Lisa See’s books? Those are historical, but some of my favorites are by her. I read a great book by Lisa Ko, The Leavers, that you may be interested in. I also read a nonfiction a couple months ago, so this may be a bit of a stretch, but it read like fiction, Patriot Number One. Actually, the author is not Asian. I’ll keep thinking and will let you know if I think of any others. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jennifer, I haven’t read Lisa See yet but I’ve heard good things. I’ll be adding your suggestions to my TBR – thank you so much!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Abby, I have a couple more I’ve read since we last chatted about this and wanted to let you know. What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan is about a Chinese family who moves to the US and the back to Shanghai. I’ll be posting my review on it tomorrow (I hope). If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim takes place in Korea during the Korean War, and now I think you may have seen that review on my blog already. Both are beautiful books! ♥️

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Great recommendations, Jennifer – thank you! I have my eye on What We Were Promised and look forward to your review. You have a beautiful blog, by the way – and your photos are absolutely gorgeous. Are you using a WordPress layout? If so, which one? I’m looking to change mine up and I like yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great list!

    I know some people had issues with Chemistry but I really liked it. And, seriously, I am desperate for the Crazy Rich Asians movie. With all the toxicity and lunacy out there right now I need over-the-top bling and drama in a movie.

    I loved Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation- felt so real. Also, her book Mambo in Chinatown.

    Liked by 1 person

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